The rarest of weeks created an odd mixture of calm, anger and focus for the Robinson football team, coming off a regular season loss for the first time since 2001, a span of 37 games.
The Rams played with all three ingredients on their first drive last night at home against Oakton and dominated their Virginia AAA Concorde District foe thereafter, winning, 37-21.
The victory put No. 10 Robinson (6-1) at 3-1 in the Concorde. Oakton (5-2) fell to 2-2 in the district. Idle Westfield (7-0) is alone in first place at 3-0 in a district that could put three teams into the postseason.
"After losing last week to Centreville, we really just wanted to take all our anger out on Oakton," said Rams senior linebacker Jack Curtis, whose team essentially held the Cougars' top running back, Keith Payne, in check. Payne gained 111 yards, 42 coming on a late touchdown.
Robinson quarterback Matt Goff was the most effective rusher in a game mostly played in light drizzle. He gained 101 yards, including a 46-yard scamper on his team's first play from scrimmage. That was part of a five-play, 66-yard drive that ended with the first of three touchdowns by tailback Lucas Caparelli (110 yards, 17 carries).
"This was more of a week to get focused," said Goff, who passed four times, completing three for 38 yards. "It was a great week of practice, and our scout team did a good job to get us ready for Oakton. That's so important with the playoffs on the line every week now."
Halfback Kevin Campbell joined the powerful running game, scoring twice while gaining 64 yards on 15 carries. His one-yard run early in the second quarter made it 14-0.
Oakton answered after Donald Murphy intercepted a Goff pass minutes later. Running back Alex Wargo (two rushes, two touchdowns) scored on a one-yard plunge to make it 14-7 with 5 minutes 57 seconds left in the half. But the Rams came back on the next drive, and Caparelli capped the 65-yard march with a six-yard scoring run. That 21-7 lead held up until halftime.
Caparelli scored his third touchdown to end the first drive of the second half. Robinson outgained Oakton in yardage, 107-17, in the quarter. Oakton scored twice in the fourth quarter before Goff's 26-yard field goal with 3:46 to play put the game out of reach.
"This wasn't a week to throw in the white flag," said Rams Coach Mark Bendorf. "Monday's practice was in half pads. We wanted to put the Centreville loss behind us and get focused on Oakton. We did. Our kids responded. In this [talented] district, you have to. Oakton is a great football team."
Oakton Coach Joe Thompson said his players now have their backs up against the wall. "It was tough for us tonight because it seemed like [Robinson] had the ball the whole night," Thompson said. "We're going to have to scratch our way back into the playoff picture."
The Rams have won seven of the past eight meetings with Oakton.